Viktoria Soltesz of PSP Angels tells us how they build a huge network of high-risk payment providers and banks globally.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded PSP Angels.
Viktoria Soltesz: I started my career as an Accountant 15 years ago. We have opened Cypriot and offshore companies and helped clients with international tax planning, as well as local and international bank account openings. Things were different back in those days, and the banks were never an issue. However, when AML kicked in, and the banks’ compliance started to be stricter and more demanding, I realized that there was a huge communication gap between the clients and the banks. Clients are usually unaware of “how banks think,” This has resulted in serious delays and closed /frozen accost, mainly in the high-risk sectors.
When I saw clients repeat the same mistakes with their bank account applications, I realized similar clients face the same issues. The same questions and replies were repeated, over and over again, as these banking issues were not very well addressed online. When I needed help setting up payment plans for my clients, I have always been redirected to the sales department of the different providers who usually over promised and underdelivered. Additionally, I could only find very limited information about the high-risk payment providers. I could not believe that there was no single independent consultancy dealing with this, nor any sort of market intelligence that could guide these clients.
High-risk online businesses had nowhere to go when they wanted to understand the high-risk payment industry. After a few painful years, I realized that the market needs a professional, high-risk-focused payment consultancy service more than ever. I started to dedicate all my attention to the payment sector, and the idea of PSP Angels was born.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Viktoria Soltesz: I like to listen, and I want to learn. I am proud to say that my team is dynamic and curious. This industry is changing all the time, and I think being on top of the information flow helps us give the most accurate and up-to-date picture to our clients. We use our vast network of payment providers, exchanges, and banks to be always informed about the latest trend, technologies, and options in the payment markets. We then explain to our clients and see which can effectively benefit them. I believe in hard work and constant development in all areas of my life.
How does PSP Angels market its product/services online?
Viktoria Soltesz: We are in a very lucky position that we have 100% organic traffic. New clients come by recommendations from our network and existing clients who actively recommend our services. I regularly attend and speak at different expos and conferences in the crypto/blockchain, gambling, forex, pharmaceutical, and adult industries. It is very important to be present, mainly when it comes to money. Our clients like to see who they are dealing with and trust their money, so personal attendance is more important than ever after the pandemic.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Viktoria Soltesz: We have a basic online presence only. We have a website, LinkedIn, and Facebook Page where I post all the news and my future speaking commitments and articles. High-risk payments are a unique niche, and acceptance is heavily based on personal connections. I believe in organic growth and word-of-mouth advertising.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Viktoria Soltesz: In my opinion, staffing is the most challenging area of all businesses. Finding the right person to fill in the right position is like finding the love of your life: you need a lot of searching and a huge amount of luck. I usually try to filter the applications with a personal chat to see if the person has the same “common sense “– as we know, common sense is not “common,” and it’s definitely not the same for everyone.
I’m looking for dynamic, motivated, and ambitious people who have the “to do” attitude. My team shall be innovative, hungry for knowledge, and ready for changes. I strongly support education for all my team members. As a leader, I believe the most important is creating interest, supporting independent thinking, valuing innovation, instigating developments, and imparting problem-solving skills. We are consultants, so our team member’s knowledge is our product. I have to perfect this knowledge as much as I can. I genuinely believe in excellence personally, which can only grow when you give them a free hand.
I am also very strong and particular in detailed documentation and written work traces. I always think, “what happens if my colleague wins the lottery and stops picking up the phone for me from tomorrow? How will this affect the business?” Based on my experience, documentation and traceability are critical and can either make or break the success of a business. If major data and important knowledge are kept in my colleagues’ heads only, we roll the dice every day.
How are you funding your growth?
Viktoria Soltesz: Our product is knowledge, network, and expertise. It’s vital for me to be on top of the industry news and latest trends, so my life is a never-ending trip to industry expos, conferences, and seminars where I expand my network, learn about new techniques, and have a demo about new products and services. Professional expertise and knowledge result from the personal research and due diligence, which will be passed on to our clients who won’t need to spend time on this.
The high-risk payment industry is very creative and changing all the time, so keeping up to date is a key part of our business.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Viktoria Soltesz: I personally have not seen any independent high-risk payment consultants on the market yet. I am not sure if they exist or if we have any competitors. We have a lot of overlap in business with payment agents and gateways, but I understand that no one is offering the same level and in-depth payment planning in the high-risk industry. The best payment experts are now advocating for one or more payment products (i.e., have their gateway or cashier system with a limited number of partners or work for one specific company). In my opinion, this makes their advice biased. Independence is critical for us to stay objective and provide the best possible advice to our clients about the prices and risks of each partner we represent. We help the clients assess the real dangers and guide them on optimizing the cost with the informed risk. We also assist our clients with licensing, writing business plans, AML, and KYC policies, providing tax consulting and other financial services, and even website amendments.
We set up the overall payment plan, starting from where the money comes from, how much, how often, and what currency; we can help them with treasury and hedging, FX. We also adjust the marketing efforts according to the payment providers’ possibilities.
We also help evaluate the risk of payment providers; we help the client assess the cost and negotiate the fees for them on their behalf if needed. This is an overall payment consulting that extends beyond just finding banks and PSPs.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Viktoria Soltesz: We once had a client who wanted to invest some money, and he started a forex/crypto brokerage and exchange website. He got some legal advice that not the brokerage nor the crypto exchange activities are regulated in St Vincent and Grenadines, so he acted legally when he operated through this company. Since the law allows him to run his operations completely legally from an offshore jurisdiction, he assumed that the banks were OK with the setup too.
However, whatever is legal, it doesn’t mean that the banks like it. This client got rejected by all major and reliable banks and payment service providers, so he ended up with us, asking for help. After a couple of months of consulting, we optimized the setup and separated these two activities. Both activities got a relevant license in another jurisdiction, allowing the bank to accept these operations as clients.
Now their payment flow is in much safer and cheaper hands than the original setup indicated.
Your final thoughts?
Viktoria Soltesz: I believe there are a lot of exciting opportunities for PSP Angels in the future. As online businesses are becoming more global, the payment providers and banks are still tied down to the old compliance rules. The market is rapidly changing, and keeping up to date with the new trends is a very time-consuming exercise. Every online business needs an online payment expert, so I believe we will be very busy with the new engagements.
Feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to assist you.